The Gorge’s width ranges from 3 meters which is the narrowest point up to 150 meters the widest Samaria Gorge, is proclaimed as a national park fifty years ago, at 1962, aiming to protect the rare flora and fauna of the White Mountains. In the wider area of the White Mountains, have been recorded about 650 floral taxa, a great number of protected animals as the Cretan wild goat (Capra aegagrus cretica), which is the largest mammal on the island of Crete and over 200 birds, among a variety of flora and fauna protected .
The starting point is at Xylokastro (wooden castle) the name became from the wooden stairs made from the locals to insure an easier, safer and faster way down through a magnificent mountains view. The path way follows the river side,up to the end to the beach. Visitors have the chance to cross the old desert town of Samaria, with the byzantine church of Secret Mary – 14th century. www.neos-omalos.gr/images/samaria-gorge-1.jpg
During walking they will be able to enjoy the gorgeous top of the mountains, to smell the aromas of the herbs and luckily to see up to mountains sides the famous protected wild goats. One of the most beautiful and impressive parts of Samaria Gorge route is when grossing the “Iron gates” “Sideroportes”, the narrowest point of 3 meters, while the height is 600 meters.
The National Park of Samaria Gorge is one of the most recognized and awarded protected areas of Greece. ( http://www.samaria.gr/index.php/en/samaria-national-park)
It has been awarded with the European Diploma of Protected Areas of the Council of Europe (CoE). The Gorge of Samaria belongs to the network of Biosphere Reserves, areas characterized as such by the Program “Man and Biosphere” (MAB) of UNESCO.
The Gorge of Samaria and the National Park of Olympos are the only protected areas of Greece included in the MAB Network. It belongs to the European Network of Biogenetic Reserves of the Council of Europe. It is one of the Special Protection Area for the Greek avifauna. It is included in the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000 with reference number GR4340014 (Special Protected Area (SPA)). The wider region of the White Mountains is a site of the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000 with reference number GR4340008 (Site of Community)